Liverpool and Arsenal join the hunt for Championship wonderkid who could solve key issue

Ben Stewart
Ben Sheaf of Coventry City in action with Middlesbrough's Hayden Hackney during the Sky Bet Championship Play Off Semi Final 2nd Leg between Middlesbrough and Coventry City at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough on Wednesday 17th May 2023

Liverpool and Arsenal have joined the hunt for a Championship youngster who has flourished this season at Middlesbrough.

Hayden Hackney has been given more responsibility this season under Michael Carrick. In fact, Middlesbrough’s upturn in form correlated with the youngster being introduced as a regular starter.

In the Championship he made 36 appearances and played over 2,900 minutes of football. The 20-year-old has been attracting plenty of interest of late.

According to 90min, both Liverpool and Arsenal are interested in the midfielder. The report also mentions interest from Newcastle, Nottingham Forest and Leicester. TEAMtalk has revealed in the past how West Ham are also tracking his services.

The youngster did recently pen a fresh deal with Middlesbrough until 2026. However, they will have to consider offers this summer.

Given they fell short against Coventry in the playoffs, Carrick’s side will be preparing for another year in the Championship.

The club are no longer receiving parachute payments and so would have to consider any sizeable offers that come in.

Middlesborough do have a solid track record when it comes to selling players to Premier League clubs. Last summer they made over £20million selling Djed Spence and Marcus Tavernier.

Along with Chuba Akpom, Hackney is one of their prized assets. The 20-year-old plays with maturity beyond his years and looks destined for the Premier League.

He has scored three goals and provided four assists, but those numbers don’t do him justice. Hackney is a tidy player on the ball and is also excellent out of possession.

Liverpool move makes sense

There’s no doubt that Jurgen Klopp is looking to rejuvenate his midfield. With the impending departures of James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita, this is a priority position.

Liverpool are looking to add an attacking midfielder to their ranks and have been upping their interest in Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister.

The Argentine midfielder has scored 10 league goals, which is more than any Liverpool midfielder has managed this season.

Along with an attacking midfielder, Klopp is also keen to add a holding player to their ranks. That is where someone like Hackney could come in handy.

Jordan Henderson and Fabinho haven’t been at their best this season and someone like Hackney could be seen as a younger alternative.

While he might not be ready for the Premier League yet, Liverpool would be wise to invest in him now for the future.

The 20-year-old likes to get stuck in and wins an average of two tackles per game. For context, that’s more than the likes of Fabinho and Henderson have managed this season.

A move to Arsenal would also make sense. Given the young core Mikel Arteta has built, the Middlesbrough youngster would soon feel at home.

Given the likes of Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka could depart this summer too, they will be after some midfield cover in the summer.

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